Saturday, May 31, 2008

I am dangerous.

Seriously.  Have you ever had one of those days where you just keep knocking things over or feel especially, unusually clumsy?  Well, within the first hour of my day I have managed to:
  • pinch my first finger of one hand in a drawer
  • stub my toe on a trash can
  • bump my head on a pipe
  • trip over the cat
  • pinch the thumb of the other hand in a cabinet
  • bash my shin on a table
  • had a cat fall on me from above
This last one was particularly clever and it occurred as a result of the cat's tendency to sit on the top of the bedroom door.  Since my bedroom is very small, in order to get past the corner of the bed and through the doorway, the door must be all the way open. Not knowing she was quietly perched up there observing the wreck and ruin of my morning, I yanked the door open quickly, causing her to lose her balance and - you guessed it - fall on my head.  This would be funnier and far less pathetic if it was the first time that's ever happened.  But it's not.

All this, in just the first hour.  (Because, I am nothing if not efficient.) An hour, mind you, when I did not even leave my home.  I actually did nothing more than fix my usual morning coffee, feed the cat, make the bed, and put away clean laundry.  Scary, eh?

The fact that the only other living critter inside my home has been drawn into my vortex of disaster is what really has me concerned.  I think the other cat outside and my neighbors are still okay, but it's probably safer if they keep their distance.  I'm sure you will be happy to hear that as a public service I will not be getting on any airplanes, trains, busses, or any other form of mass transportation today. (You're welcome.)

I have also decided not to get behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.  My original day plan involved yet another exciting trip over the hill with a load of stuff for the dump, but in light of recent events, I've revised my plans.  Yesterday I noticed that one of my tires had gone very squishy and I elected to just refill it and keep an eye on it over the weekend.  After all, I don't drive much, and even if the tire does need to be replaced, there was no harm in waiting til next week, right? Based on how my day has transpired thus far, I strongly suspect that instead of just quietly deflating, that tire will wait and choose to go 'splodey in a loud and most inconvenient moment and send me careening off the road and down into the canyon.  (Wanna bet?  I think I'll pass.)

Now, I'm not sure what I might have done, karmically or otherwise, that would cause the Powers That Be to have shat upon my Saturday.  But I am wise enough not to fight it.  Struggling will simply cause more injury and probably increase the likelihood of collateral damage. (The cat is hiding under the bed now.)  I have socks in progress that are all done but for the final toe grafting.  However, something in the wind tells me this is not a good day to be doing kitchener stitch.  I want to start another knitting project for a friend, it's very simple so I think it should be safe. (She says moments before sitting on the metal dpn. Dammit!)  

I would also like to walk downtown, purchase a few small items, and check my mail.  Do we think I can do that without, I don't know, tumbling down the stairs or something?  Of course, before I can do any of that, I do have to get up off the couch and get dressed.  A task that today, is obviously fraught with peril. Wish me luck, 'cause I think I'm gonna need it. (And band-aids, I'm gonna need those too.)

Friday, May 30, 2008

It put a spell on me...

I am generally known as a fairly thrifty person.  So much so, that I always figured on my tombstone there'd be an image of a fist squeezing a dollar bill so tight that the face of George Washington would be screaming for mercy. But when some nutjob in the government decides that the cure for our economy is to start giving away money so that we can all spend more money - well, who am I to complain?  For that, I think I could loosen the purse strings a little.

And I did:

Hazel Knits in Denim Blues.  Nothing frivolous though, this actually quite practical.  After all, in my current life (and hopefully in any future life), I can wear jeans almost every day. I really enjoyed knitting my Purty Purple Rogue Socks with Hazel Knits and I think a large part of the reason they turned out so well was that I was using such nice yarn.

But then there's this:

It's Hazel Knits Alki Reflection.  Although I lust for almost all the colorways, the desire for this one just haunted me.  I wanted it, and I could not explain why.  No logic, no reason, just want.  No idea what it would knit up like, just want. No clue what it would go with, just want. 

What it would go with?!??


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I'm a square

I admit it.  And if my decision to ignore a party invite last weekend in favor of spending Saturday night on the couch with my laptop and my cat wasn't enough evidence, I also have this:

Yep, that's me.  And for a square, I think I'm keeping some pretty good company!  There's some very cool people.  Perhaps a somewhat greater amount of "Wendys" than you'd expect! But the holder of square #1 and the organizer of this enterprise is Dame Wendy, a name familiar to me from Dame Candle Company.

Wendy's launched an effort to collect squares, knitted or crocheted, to be sewn together into a blanket for an important knitter in her life who is currently ill and unable to knit. Did you get that?  Ill...and unable to knit.  So for everyone who uses knitting to get themselves through times of stress?  Seventh circle of hell, my friends. Yes indeedy.

It's also a known fact that no one appreciates the time and care that goes into a hand-knitted object like another knitter.  So Wendy's goal is to give this person a handmade blanket, something lovely and warm, something to hold and hopefully, lift her spirits.

You may have noticed, there's still an awful lot of unclaimed squares.  What I've noticed is that just knitting a square takes very little time or effort.  Just grab some yarn and needles, pick a stitch pattern and cast on. It goes amazingly fast - a little NCIS and I'm halfway done.
So why not join me?

All the cool kids are doing it!

Monday, May 26, 2008

J is for...Jail?

About four years ago the city built a brand new facility in a new location, (you can see a photo here), but up until then this was our City Hall and Fire Station:

For those in the know, there's a great little shortcut on one side of the building, a combination of stairs going up the hillside, connecting Metropole to East Whittley.  Very convenient on busy weekends when the sidewalks are mobbed with tourists and you just want to get from point A to point B without having to dodge the hordes.

When you first head up the stairs you see this:

A boarded-up, dilapidated old building with no signage, no clear indication of what it ever was. Until you go further up the stairs and see it from the side:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

RIP Grey Seedstitch Scarf

Many many moons ago I posted my thoughts on my oldest UFO.  As I recall the general feedback at the time was that I should just go ahead and frog it and use that nice soft alpaca yarn for something else.  After some consideration, I agreed.  But knowing that once I frogged it all I would still have to soak and re-wind the yarn to remove the kinks, I've been dragging my heels. Especially since while the yarn is lovely, I didn't have even the vaguest idea what I'd do with it.

Fortune has smiled upon me - someone else wants the yarn.  Someone who wants it badly enough to be willing to take it "as is" - frogging the WIP and rewinding the yarn themselves. Someone who had sock yarn to trade.

So out with old:

And in with the new:

Hello lovely Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock!  I have no idea how you're going to knit up with those interesting color combinations, but welcome to the stash.   Make yourself comfortable (but not too comfortable) and introduce yourself to the others. We'll get together and talk patterns sometime soon, but if you have any thoughts of your own, feel free to speak up!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Did I miss something?

Isn't there supposed to be something in between freezing your hiney off and roasting it off? Like maybe a chance to get completely dried out after torrents of rains and before sopping with  sweat?  Wasn't there a season used as justification for three-quarter length sleeves and capris?  (If there can be such a thing at all.) I think it's called Spring.  

Now I know I don't get out much these days, I'm pretty much a homebody.  But I think I would've noticed that.  And if we were skipping it this year?  I gotta say - I didn't get the memo.  So, could we discuss this? I mean, is there any room for negotiation here or is it basically a done deal?  I'm just wondering.

Something else almost slipped by me. During last winter's storms a friend called me because they were off the island and heard there might be a mudslide at their property.  Since I live sort of across the canyon, they thought I might be able to see what was going on. Unfortunately, I really couldn't see much.

Not just because of the heavy rainfall, but mostly because of that great big whompin' grandaddy tree!  I know it's hard to tell from the photo and if you are unfamiliar with the layout of the town the houses are stacked up along the side of the canyon at different levels.  But trust me, that sucker is humongous!

The other day after spending the hottest part of the day inside in front of a fan with my good friends Ben and Jerry, I emerged out onto my balcony to see this:

Apparently that tree will no longer be blocking my view, or anyone else's for that matter. Sheesh!  I'd heard the sound of a chainsaw in the distance pretty much throughout the day so I think this bad boy took the entire day to cut down and remove.  And the guy doing the work? Okay, he cannot possibly be paid enough 'cause seriously, that is scary high.  Can you see him? Little blue speck near the top? No?  Here, let me give you a closeup:

Yes, that's right.  One guy, one chainsaw, and a bunch of ropes.  A helper down on the ground but still.  This guy basically spent his whole day working his way up the tree, sawing off branch after branch, and then worked his way down, sawing off sections of the trunk.  And I did mention that it was a hot day? Wow.

One thing I did not miss - the deadline today for the little "contest" that I posted a couple weeks ago.  Truly, I never intended to offer up an unwinnable contest, I just didn't plan too far ahead.  I think it was a blog post born from frustration that grew into a rant, and morphed into a contest that no one really wanted to win!  So bear with me, I'll come up with a better idea next time.  I've got an interesting anniversary coming up soon, if I can get an idea worked up by then and round up a desirable prize, I'll give it a go.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Summer of Socks

Yes, I signed up. "Why the hell not?" I thought.  I mean, there's contests and stuff but you certainly aren't obligated to take part in those.  And these days, with my head swimming with statistics and sensory systems and other such nonsense I really can't muster up the energy to get competitive.  (So Hat Attack 2 is not looking so likely for me.)  In the end, it just comes down to spending a couple months knitting socks and checking out all the other socks that people are knitting.  And isn't that what I'd be doing anyway?

Because the sock knitting has taken hold of me.  Last week I was gifted with a stack of back issues of Interweave and Knitter's and my first act was to skim them for sock patterns. I roam the project pages of Ravelry checking out people's socks.  I have exited some of my less active groups to join and enthusiastically participate in sock knitting groups. I have reorganized my queue, the socks are now listed at the top. I find myself lusting for the Simply Lovely Lace Socks, craving the cables of Brigid, and now I think I need to do Nutkin too.

Even before I began knitting socks I had sock yarn.  Certainly not in the quantity that most people do - but I did have a few skeins.  A swap, a gift, a couple contests, a purchase or two - leading to a modest starter stash of sock yarn.  (I know, I know - Sock yarn is not stash, sock yarn is not stash, sock yarn is not stash - I can repeat the mantra all day.)  So as the incredibly cheap thrifty person that I am, I had decided that as a new sock knitter I should knit through what I have before purchasing more sock yarn.  Good Plan.

Good Plan fall down and go boom.  Here is where I suck - matching the yarn I have already to the patterns I wish to knit.  The glory that is Ravelry allows me to check out all the others who have knit those patterns and see what they used.  I can also look up the yarns I have, and see what other people are knitting with them.  Marvelousness!  But what if I don't like what other people are knitting with the yarn I have?  (Do NOT say Monkey or Jaywalker please. Nothing personal.) And what if the patterns I like don't work with the yarn I have or might look better in a different yarn?  Ummmm....does that mean I get to go buy sock yarn?

Friday, May 9, 2008

I is for "If"

I received this in the mail a few days ago.  It's a sort of "sympathy on the anniversary of" card. I don't mind, it's not as if I wouldn't have remembered anyway on my own.  I can't NOT remember, not yet anyway.  Maybe someday.

When I think back to all the pain and confusion, today what stands out the most is how much time I spent thinking:

If I had spent more time physically with him, not just talking on the phone
If I had gotten to know his family and shared what I knew
If I had given in to impulse instead of waiting for a better time
If I had remembered how clever he could be
If I had paid attention to the calendar and what was coming up
If I...

But most often:

If he could have waited on for just one more day.  One day is all it would have taken.  One more day and he would have seen this:

And I would have told him about this moment:

And all that followed. Just one more day.

I could carry the "if"'s on forward forever.  But none of them matter. There's really only one "if" that does and it was the hardest one for me to learn.

If there was anything at all I could have done to keep him alive, he would be.  And he isn't.  So it was never within my power to make it so.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Statistically speaking...

Over on the right hand side of my blog in my school progress bars there's a yellow one for my Statistics class and as of today, it shows 40% completed. Now, if there were any other way to fulfill that requirement, I'd have gone that route but Statistics is required for my major.  And if I had been able to look into the future and see how little difference the choice of major would make in my life, I might not have switched from Art to Psychology!  'Cause I'm sure they don't expect art students to be able to figure out the standard deviation of worm lengths, right?

From the beginning this class had me worried. While I can plug on through the individual lessons, learning a specific concept and then spitting it back on the assignment, when it came time to take the first exam I panicked.  Because I couldn't remember all of that material - it just didn't seem to stick. So I procrastinated.  And I am quite good at that.  I found time to do just about everything and anything instead, up to but not including vacuuming the cat. (That probably wouldn't have gone well).

Then finally, two weeks ago I put on my big girl panties (along with all the usual clothing!) and went to the testing center on the mainland and took the exam.  It was a two-hour, two-part test, at the end of which I staggered back out into the sun with not more than a handful of brain cells left.  Certain that I had bombed, I headed to a nearby yarn store to drown my sorrows in fiber fumes and put it behind me.

The grades for that exam were posted today:  

Part 1 = 86%,  B  
Part 2 = 70%,  C-

Happy happy, joy joy, happy happy, joy joy, happy happy, joy joy, happy happy, joy joy, happy happy, joy joy.....whoops, 'scuse me, what was I saying?

Oh yeah, I procrastinated.  So much so, that now I'm going to have to really push hard to finish the rest of the assignments and exams before the class ends.  I know from past experience that school is willing to grant course extensions of up to 30 days.  But longer than that? I don't think I want to ask until I get closer and have a better idea what I'd be asking for.

So - statistically speaking, what's the probability that I can get through the remaining 60% of that course in the next few months?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Can you take me higher?

I've seen a lot of new stories lately about "record gas prices", and "breaking the $4 threshold", and even the "pain beyond the pump".  

The Auto Club surveys over 100,000 gas stations all over the state and provides daily updates to their online Fuel Gauge Report.

Even one my favorite Southern California blogs has made a point of displaying Los Angeles gas prices a few times in the past month.

I'm sure it's not just California, and fuel prices are higher everywhere.  Yes, it's an excellent opportunity to promote public transportation, ride-sharing, and the health benefits of walking and/or pedaling whenever possible.

But I'd like to put it into perspective for you.

Pebbly Beach Gas Station, Catalina Island

So tell me, can you go higher?  Or better yet - show me!  Seriously.  If you live in the United States and you've got a higher gas price than I do, post your photo and a link to my blog and leave me a comment so I can go check it out.  I'll send a little Catalina Island swag to the highest one. 

But this isn't open-ended, ('cause the FSM only knows what's around the corner, idjits blowing up stuff up, oil tankers running aground and other such nonsense). So I'll give you two weeks - the deadline for this little contest is May 18, 2008.

Got gas?  Got really expensive gas?  Let's see it!